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Study Highlights the Beginnings of a Beautiful Bacterial Friendship

October 24, 2018

Department of Biological Sciences' Chris Marx and colleagues representing three other universities published a study this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The laboratory study addressed how two species can evolve a relationship that increases the chance of survival for both despite the energy costs to both. The experiment, which involved the bacteria Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli, is the first to document the step-by-step emergence of a costly – in terms of energy – but mutually beneficial relationship between species.

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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at